Article from Christina Bowman:
When Max was born….
After having a traumatic birth with my daughter in 2015, I opted to have an elected C section.
The date was booked in 1 week before our Due date and in we went, nervous and excited to meet our little boy!
The operation went smoothly and out came our lovely boy, over the screen I could see them holding him up, looking at him “is something wrong? “I asked, “No we are just letting him get the last goodness from the cord” said one of the midwives. I relaxed for a couple of minutes life was good, I felt content, our new baby was here. They weighed him, a good healthy weight, then handed him to Dad. “He looks just like his sister” I said, Dad’s face said a lot & I knew then something WAS wrong! But what??
I told dad to go with baby whilst I got stitched up and was soon back on ward.
The news, or not the news…
Dad had gone home to be with the rest of the family.
A Lovely young man came in to look at Max, happy and kind, he told me Max was healthy and a lovely boy, but…
There were some markers, baby had a single palmer crease, a low bridge, almond shaped eyes and of course his neck. “Do you know what that means?” said the Dr, I replied “Down’s Syndrome?” The Doctor seemed relieved that I knew what these markers may mean, he told me that these were just markers and they couldn’t confirm until blood tests came back. Bloods had been taken earlier in the day. Results would take weeks to come back, leaving us in Limbo.
I can’t remember much else that was said as the confirmation or near confirmation that Max may have Down’s syndrome was shattering…
I remember sitting and crying, holding this tiny innocent boy and repeating over and over, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry” blaming myself, at 39 it must be my old eggs. Not knowing what the future would be, thinking Max would have to have a heart operation, never live independently, have a job, get married and worst… die young! These bleak stereotypes were what I had grown up hearing, I had little to do with anybody who had Down’s Syndrome and the information you are given showing the statistics isn’t very reassuring either!
There was no mention of local Support groups or help that may be available. We were home in just over 24 hours, I wanted to be with my family & to the outside world, perhaps I seemed fine? I was dying inside, tormented thinking I had hurt my son by being an older mum. There was no specialist Health Visitor, no support, no positives, and no being able to enjoy my new baby.
I know now …
I know now, that these thoughts were wrong, that 85% of babies born with trisomy 21 are born to younger mothers. That people who have Down’s Syndrome do go on to live independently, get jobs, even have their own business, get married and live happy, healthy, Long lives. I wish somebody could go back and give me some positive information when Max was first born. I wish I could tell myself not to worry, everything would be fine. I wish I could go back and enjoy my beautiful newborn baby boy.
I wish a Positive about Downs Syndrome flyer had been
handed to me! It would also help people receiving a positive NIPT (Non-Invasive pre-natal Testing) test to make an informed and balanced decision.